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"Community pitches in, makes adoption dream come true"

"In Bulgaria, a 9-year-old boy is ecstatic about the prospect of moving to a far off place called Oak Harbor and becoming a son and brother to people he's never met and can't even speak to.In Oak Harbor, a woman and her two kids are nervous and excited about trip to Bulgaria they are going to take in a few weeks to meet the boy whose photograph they found on an international adoption Web site.It took a major fund-raising effort and a lot of support from the community, but Darcy Zook says her dream of adopting a child from a foreign country is close to coming true.In early November, the three Zooks will fly to Bulgaria and stay for a week after submitting their adoption paperwork. They will get to meet young Alexander and spend the entire seven days in a hotel room getting to know him.The hard part, Zook said, is that under Bulgarian law they have to come home without Alexander and may have to wait several months for the paperwork to be completed until the boy can fly to his new home.Zook and her two children, 10-year-old Jordan and 13-year-old Jamie, searched the Internet to find Alexander and picked him out from hundreds of photographs. They have raised $15,000 and three plane tickets in donations over the last six months. The family's efforts were features in the Whidbey News-Times last April and on KOMO-4 news in early September.Zooks said she even received a major donation from a Vashon Island resident who saw the story on TV.The family originally was going to adopt two orphans in Bulgaria - Alexander and a 5-year-old girl named Lyubka - but the Bulgarian government took the girl off the general adoption list several months ago after testing revealed that she suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and is severely retarded.Now Lyubka can only be adopted by a couple with no children. As a widow with two kids, Zook no longer qualifies.It was hard, she said. We cried for a couple of weeks.Although the family hasn't had any contact with the Bulgarian-speaking boy, Zook said the orphanage contacted her and told her how wildly excited Alexander is about getting a mother and siblings.But Zook said there is still room in her family for a little girl, so she's planning on adopting a 4-year-old girl from Kenya whose parents died from the AIDS epidemic that's ravaging the continent. While she has shown no signs, the little girl named Phoebe is due to be tested this week to determine if she carries the virus. If so, she cannot be adopted into the United States.In the meantime, the fund raising continues in Oak Harbor.The employees at Upchurch Scientific have been raising money to bring Phoebe here, Zook said, and the company has promised to match their donations.The fourth and fifth grade students at Oak Harbor Elementary School - which Alexander will likely attend - are creating 94 little gift bags for the 94 children in Alexander's orphanage. Local businesses like Wal-Mart, Ennen's, Safeway, along with local dentists and doctors have donated everything from toys to powdered milk for the Zooks to bring to the orphanage in Bulgaria.In addition, Zook said she's bringing suitcases full of clothing, especially shoes, for the children.I was told that many of the orphans wear shoes with the toes cut out, she said. They live on donations there.------------Tax-deductible donations to help Oak Harbor resident Darcy Zook adopt two orphans in Bulgaria and Kenya can be sent to: KOMO 4 News-People HelperZook Family/OrphansP.O. Box 19087Seattle, WA 98109 "

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